A special CBI court issued a non-bailable warrant against Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s nephew and businessman Ratul Puri in the money-laundering case related to AgustaWestland case on 9 August. The court dismissed a plea by Puri seeking delay in the hearing of the case.
The CBI Special Court judge had asked to supply an action taken report (ATR) to Puri and dismissed his bail application. The Enforcement Directorate had said in court that he had run away amid his questioning. Judge Arvind Kumar also rejected Puri's application seeking a copy of the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) and statement under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Considering the "evidence collected so far by ED and considering the serious nature of allegations, the gravity of the offense and the alleged conduct of the accused" the court did not find it fit to grant anticipatory bail to Ratan Puri.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is probing Puri's alleged role in the multi-crore scam and has been seeking the businessman's custody to further investigate the matter. During the course of hearing last week, Special Public Prosecutor DP Singh, representing the ED, had told the court that Puri, who is the nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, is very influential and might flee the country.
The case pertains to alleged irregularities in purchase of 12 VVIP choppers from Italy-based Finmeccanica's British subsidiary AgustaWestland.
The Income Tax Department attached Rs 254 crore worth of "Benami" equity of Ratul Puri which he had allegedly received from a suspect in the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam case via shell companies. They said a provisional order for attachment of the shares or non-cumulative compulsory convertible preference shares (CCPS) has been issued under the Benami Property Transactions Act.